It is the second round of the 2018 Formula 1 championship in Bahrain, we catch up with some of the teams after Friday’s practice session…
The second round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice Friday at Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir as teams prepared for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.
Two 90-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mile), 15-turn track were on the docket, the first of which was run under a clear and sunny sky while the latter was the more representative session for what drivers and teams will experience in Sunday’s race, which begins shortly after sunset.
Haas F1 Team:
Both drivers began FP1 on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tire before transitioning to the Red supersoft tire. Grosjean’s quick time of 1:32.516 came on his 12th lap shod on supersofts. He ran 23 laps and was the sixth-fastest driver, behind only the big-three teams of Red Bull, Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari. Magnussen’s best time was a 1:32.971 on his 11th lap, also set on supersofts.
He ran 19 laps and posted the ninth-quickest time. Leading the way in FP1 was Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, whose fast lap of 1:31.060 was .304 of a second better than the next quickest driver, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
Speeds picked up in FP2, but so did traffic, which impeded Grosjean and Magnussen from compiling an ideal lap while on fresh rubber. Grosjean wrapped FP2 as the 11th quickest driver with a time of 1:31.591, which was .925 of a second better than his best lap in FP1. His quick time came on the 11th of his 33 laps riding on a set of new supersofts. Magnussen shaved 1.002 seconds off his FP1 mark with a lap of 1:31.969 to earn the 15th fastest time. His best lap came on his 13th tour, also while utilizing supersofts. He completed 35 laps. Between the two sessions, Haas F1 Team ran a total of 110 laps – 56 by Grosjean and 54 by Magnussen.
Topping the timesheets on Friday does not bring any points, and Scuderia Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel are well aware that the Bahraini weekend has just begun. Nevertheless, their comments after the first day of practice reflected the hard work that the whole team had carried out. Kimi had to pull off the track and stop the car right at the end of the session due to a loose front right wheel, when his pitwall promptly informed him that something wasn’t right.
“It was a pretty straightforward day and the car felt ok”, said Kimi. “As on any Friday, we tried different things, tested and learned as much as possible. The feeling was pretty much the same everywhere, but in certain zones of the track we want to do better. If we look purely at lap times it was OK, but that doesn’t tell you much; It’s only the first day and it’s impossible to know what the others were doing. At the end of the second session, right after the pit-stop, I felt some vibrations in the car and the team told me to slow down and park the car. We found out that the front wheel was a bit loose, so we had to stop. For sure we still have to improve; tonight we’ll put all the data together to try and do even better”.
“It is difficult to say where we are just from one day of practice” Seb commented “but we did make some progress. In the long runs we can do better, so let’s see what happens tomorrow. We made some mistakes here and there, but we tried to get the rhythm for qualifying. This is the time you need to try and take the car to the limit, especially this evening because conditions are the same as those you will have tomorrow and on Sunday night. I don’t have any conclusions to draw after the results we got today. We focus on ourselves and mostly try to get a better feeling with the car, as we still have some work to do, but I think we can improve further”.
Alfa Romeo SauberF1 Team:
It was a good start to the weekend for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team at the Bahrain International Circuit. Marcus Ericsson focussed on mechanical work during FP1 while Charles Leclerc completed aerodynamic testing. During FP2, both drivers completed short-runs in preparation for tomorrow’s qualifying. At the end of session the drivers completed a practice of red flag procedures.
Marcus Ericsson; “It was a busy session today. FP1 was quite good – I focused on mechanical set-up work. During FP2 I lost the rear of the car, which was not ideal, but as the session progressed the balance improved and the car felt good towards the end. It seems that we are moving in the right direction. We will be analysing the data tonight and will see what we can do for tomorrow’s qualifying.”
Charles Leclerc; “In general, it was quite a positive day for us. The qualifying performance was good and the car felt good to drive. At the end of the second session I completed a red flag practice. We will be looking at what we learned during today’s sessions, and build on that for FP3 and qualifying. I look forward to being back in the car tomorrow.”